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2020 Mythic Invitational Day Two Metagame Breakdown

September 11, 2020
 Corbin Hosler

In the Magic esports debut for Historic, the fledgling format found itself entering the 2020 Mythic Invitational with an unexpected—but unsurprising—leader in Muxus, Goblin Grandee. There were 160 players competing on Day One, and about a third of them were playing the aggressive archetype.

Players were prepared to see just how far they could go with Goblins. How would it stand up to a metagame where most players showed up with some kind of anti-Goblins plan?

After seven rounds of play, anyone with a 4-3 record advanced to Day Two. The verdict on Goblins? Pretty even. Mono-Red and Rakdos versions of Goblins combined to make up 33.8% of the Day One field; they represented 32.1% entering Day Two.

Here's how the full metagame shook out.

Between the Day Two numbers and six other archetypes among the top ten players at the end of Day One, Historic was off to an auspicious start. Day One was filled with back-and-forth games featuring wild Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger moments to Dreadhorde Arcanist "flashing back" Bedevil to Bolas's Citadel shenanigans to even old-fasioned Root Snare Turbo Fog (which failed to make the Day Two cut).

Historic at the 2020 Mythic Invitational had it all.

In the midst of such polarizing ends of the format, Goblins rose to the top due to its unique mix of explosiveness—thanks to Skirk Prospector and Phyrexian Tower—and resilience. There are powerful sweepers like Witch's Vengeance and Languish floating around, and Goblins wouldn't be able to compete if it folded to just a board wipe. With Goblin Matron, Goblin Ringleader, and above all Muxus, Goblin Grandee, the deck can reload almost effortlessly.

Battle for The Field

Of the decks played by a large chunk of players, Sultai Midrange overperformed the most. Its 5% increase in its share of the field from the Day One to Day Two field showed that Uro, TItan of Nature's Wrath is alive and well in Historic.

What Goblins has in synergy and explosive plays, Sultai makes up for in raw power. It brings together the power of Uro alongside Thoughtseize and Nissa, Who Shakes the World. Fueled by familiar Growth Spiral starts that dominated Standard for the last year, the deck comes out of the gates faster than you expect to power out and early "Nissa, Who Takes Over the Game". The extra mana that follows is put to good use with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon or Hydroid Krasis.

Nissa, Who Shakes the World Ugin, the Spirit Dragon Hydroid Krasis

It took Montserrat Ayensa to a 6-1 finish, the only Uro representative at 18 points or better.

Sacrifice decks also had a good day. From Ivan Floch's undefeated Day One run with Jund Sacrifice list to Andrew Norgren's more aggressive Rakdos Sacrifice build to the four copies of Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger that Luis Salvatto included in his 6-1 Rakdos Dreadhorde Arcanist deck, sacrificing your own permanents has never looked so good.

Witch's Oven Cauldron Familiar Korvold, Fae-Cursed King Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger Dreadhorde Arcanist

The key addition that sets these decks apart from their Standard counterparts is the addition of Collected Company, which allows an instant-speed angle of attack many decks struggle to beat.

The Dreadhorde Arcanist deck that took Luis Salvatto and Yimin Zhi to 6-1 records deserves a closer look. It's the rare Rakdos raw card advantage engine, bringing together some unexpected spells into a surprisingly explosive shell. Thoughtseize and Kroxa clear away an opponent's hand, and from there the deck has several angles of attack:

  • Generating an army of Young Pyromancer tokens, then
  • Sacrificing those tokens to Village Rites
  • Stealing opponents' creatures with Claim the Firstborn, then
  • Sacrificing opponents' creatures with Priest of Forgotten Gods

The deck is brought together by the snowballing power Dreadhorde Arcanist. It's also the first true home for Claim // Fame, a powerful Magic card that never served as pivotal a role in a deck as it does here.

Young Pyromancer Village Rites Claim the Firstborn Priest of Forgotten Gods Dreadhorde Arcanist Claim // Fame

A few other Day One takeaways for the Historic format:

  • Mono-Red, rather than Rakdos, may be the superior build of Goblins. The players that contorted their mana base to play Thoughtseize early in games performed slightly worse than their mono-colored counterparts. While Mono-Red Goblins increased its meta share by a few points, Rakdos variants went the opposite direction. (The overall result was neutral for Goblins, as noted above.)
  • Pure combo decks did not do well—except for Mono-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift. Kethis, the Hidden Hand decks and the lonesome Bant Turbofog did not fare well on Day One, and combo was noticeably absent from the rest of the field to start.
  • It's also not a good tournament for Teferi, Hero of Dominaria. None of the four Azorius Control players advanced to Day Two. Similarly, Bant Control fell off the map with only one of nine players returning for Friday.
God-Pharaoh's Gift Kethis, the Hidden Hand Teferi, Hero of Dominaria

Best of the Rest

Some true brews emerged to perform well, however. Headlining has to be Christopher Leonard, who was one of just two players to bring Mono-Green Planeswalkers to battle. Going rogue paid off, as he finished Day One comfortably at 6-1.

As the combo deck exception, Mono-Black God-Pharaoh's Gift also turned in a strong Day One. Five of the six players on the deck advanced to Day Two, each aiming to fill their graveyard with Stitcher's Supplier and setting up a quick Gate to the Afterlife activation. Leading the charge here are MPL player and Magic Hall of Famer Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa and Rivals League competitor Matt Nass, both playing the same deck and finishing Day One at 5-2.

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